Jonathan Jackson Performs At Opry With His Father Ricky Lee Jackson
Written by Jonathan’s Dad, Country Music Artist Ricky Lee Jackson
A musical milestone recently occurred for me that I wanted to share with you. The backstory includes traveling to Nashville in 1990 to record my album “The Other Side”. At that time I was given a wonderful tour of the Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole’ Opry, that included a complete backstage tour. The tour included meeting and watching on stage performances by some of the most famous Grand Ole’ Opry legends, including Minnie Pearl and Little Jimmy Dickens.
Fast forward “a lifetime”, and an invitation came in for me to actually PERFORM on the Grand Ole’ Opry stage! My son Jonathan has been a regular on the primetime TV show “Nashville”, and has become a frequent performer at the Grand Ole’ Opry shows. When Jonathan proposed having me join him on stage the “Opry” said YES, and plans were quickly and quietly set.
We chose a compilation based on the Elvis version of the hymn “Stand By Me” ending with a rousing version of “Glory Glory Hallelujah”, the chorus from “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. So after some at-home rehearsal, we arrived at the Grand Ole’ Opry lot, and entered through the “performers entrance” – in itself an incredible honor!
Next, there was a quick tour of the Opry and then settling in to one of the performers backstage dressing rooms – ironically, the “Little Jimmy Dickens Room” (one of the legendary artists I had met and watched perform at the Grand Ole’ Opry back in 1990).
Then came the run through with the Grand Ole’ Opry Band and back-up singers, which of course went fabulously (these folks are consummate professionals who also happen to be really nice people!).
Next, it was on to the backstage area to excitedly wait for our turn to perform.
Jonathan was introduced by country music legend Jeannie Seely, and after Jonathan finished a wonderful rendition of a Van Morrison song, he shared with the audience about having first performed on stage at age 8 as part of my concert performances. Jonathan then surprised the audience by inviting me to join him on stage.
The audience provided a really warm welcome as I joined Jonathan, stepping into that “Circle” on the current Grand Ole’ Opry stage; that “Circle” being the original floor from the old Ryman Auditorium where so many music legends (including Elvis Presley in 1954) had sung so many great Country and American songs.
The performance went really well! I took the first verse, with Jonathan taking the second, and then both of us singing the triumphal “Glory Glory Hallelujah” chorus together.
The song ended, the crowd cheered, and we embraced; father and son, there on that great stage, as the remarkable event concluded.
So many kind family and friends had prayed that this event would go well, and that perhaps the music and the words might touch someone with the truth that through every part of life, our God will “Stand By Me”, and that His love and goodness will be celebrated with songs of “Glory Hallelujah” forever!